Will WikiLeaks disclosure of secret U.S. State Department cables topple the Obama administration?


WikiLeaks recent disclosure of secret cables showing that the Obama White House worked
closely with Republicans to sabotage Spanish criminal probes into ex-Bush administration
officials have seriously damaged his presidency.

In a statement that Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, emailed to ABC News earlier this week, he made it perfectly clear that one of his primary motives in posting 251,287 classified U.S. State Department cables online was to expose “lying, corrupt and murderous leadership from Bahrain to Brazil.”

Although the mainstream media here in the United States seems to be fixated with publishing accounts of cables like one released recently where diplomats spent their time engaging in idle chit chat about Libyan president Moammar Kadafi’s reputed affair with a “voluptuous blond” Ukranian nurse, things are quite different overseas.

During the past week, there has been a major uproar in Spain over cables–specifically a “confidential” April 17, 2009 memorandum–sent out from the U.S. embassy in Madrid, showing that our government interfered with that country’s legal system to derail possible criminal prosecutions of “American political and military figures.”

According to El País, one of Spain’s largest daily newspapers, the cables show that:

Over the last several years, the Embassy of the United States in Madrid wielded powerful resources in an extraordinary effort to impede or terminate pending criminal investigations in Spain which involved American political and military figures assumed to have been involved in incidents of torture in Guantánamo, violations of the laws of war in Iraq or kidnappings in connection with the CIA’s extraordinary renditions program. The American diplomatic legation documented these activities in a number of its thousands of secret documents, both formally classified or marked as confidential, to which El País had access. The American ambassador between 2005 and 2009, Eduardo Aguirre, an appointee of the Bush Administration, personally directed most of these efforts targeting the Spanish Government or the Spanish judicial authorities, and the secret cables note that he reckoned with and secured the support of powerful figures in Spain in the process….

Despite the fact this story is headline news in Spain, the mainstream media here has said nary a word about it. And why not? Is it because these shenanigans implicate the “lying, corrupt, murderous leadership” in Washington, D.C.–including the current occupant of the Oval Office, Democratic president Barack Obama?

As David Corn of Mother Jones magazine points out, this is a bipartisan affair. He writes the April 17th cable proves that during the first year of his presidency, the Obama White House worked with top Republicans to sabotage–yes, sabotage–efforts by Spain to probe six ex-Bush administration officials for alleged war crimes.

Despite the mainstream media blackout, these revelations have spread like wildfire across the internet and perhaps have done more in the past 72 hours to damage the Obama administration than anything that right-wingers like Sarah Palin or Glen Beck could ever have hoped to achieve through any of their insane rantings.

That U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is even remotely exploring the possibility of prosecuting Assange under provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917–an antiquated relic of a previous Democratic president who was obsessed with squelching antiwar dissenters–shows how incredibly desperate the Obama White House is.

It remains to be seen what other cables will be released by WikiLeaks. But if what we’ve seen so far is merely a preview of things to come, then the outlook for Obama looks very grim. The question here, however, is that as millions of Americans now begin to see that the new boss is same as the old boss, will they be fooled again?

About Duane Roberts